Sunday, November 30, 2003


Have you ever thought about what it would mean to be immortal? I mean really considered it for all it means.

I'm not talking about vampires or people like the Highlander. Both of those examples require sustenance to survive, so does that mean they are not truly immortal? Can an immortal being even have a physical body?

Consider for a moment the physical law of conservation of energy, which states that matter/energy cannot simply vanish, it must be converted to another from. So if an immortal does not eat or drink, where would they get their energy to do anything? They would harvest their own bodies until the body had no more to give, starving to death. Wait, you are immortal, you cannot starve to death, so what happens? Does your body absorb energy from the sun, from heat, from all those other things around you? Perhaps. Perhaps you do eat and drink, but again then you are not truly immortal if you must rely on sustenance.

Does this mean humans cannot be immortal in the physical body? I argue that is correct. Our bodies are weak and begin to die as soon as we are born. They are amazing pieces of biological engineering, but we simply do not have the physical make-up for immortality.

As our cells die, others multiply to fill the loss. It's really quite remarkable. However, just like coping a copy of a copy, etc., soon become unreadable, so does our genetic code in those cells. They begin to create flawed cells more often. Those cells die quicker than our body can replace them. Or worse yet, a cell looses control and begins to replicate itself without stopping. That is what cancer is. All for our cells to replace themselves indefinitely without error and you have a lesser form of immortality.

You still must feed your body to live, but if given the fuel it needs your body will live for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, assuming it does not take on fatal damage. After all you're still susceptible to guns, knives, car accidents, etc.

Now what do you do? Aging would come to a halt. Old age is a direct result of the slow deterioration of the cellular makeup of our bodies. Without our cells going down hill, we'd in effect stay eternally young. Those who are old already may even find themselves growing young again, though it would take years. Think how long it took to get old. Do you really think you'd become young again over night?

But if you are the only immortal, what about those around you? They'd continue to age and die. As you stayed a perpetual 25-30, your wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend would age and wither. Do you harden your heart and discard emotion? Or do you learn to love again...and again...and again. Learning more how to loose than how to love. Or do you kill yourself unable to continue your ultra long life without your true love?

What do you do with your life if you choose to keep it? Over a few centuries, or perhaps only a few decades, you'll realize that most of life's pursuits are trivial and meaningless. Knowledge is one of the few endeavors worth taking. Money is nothing to an immortal who can simply wait to get what they want. Power may be compelling at first, but even it would become boring eventually. What is it to rule the world when all you rule will die and wither? All but you. Material goods are simply toys and have no real value in the end. Only knowledge.

There are many more thoughts and questions. I'd love to hear how you'd answer some of the ones I've given thus far.

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